After drawing an Amazon account with a street address in a supported country (we used U.K.), the initial setup is straightforward and intuitive. If you have a smart product that you do not find with “add device”, then it may still exist as a “skill”. We noticed this, for example, with our robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot, which Alexa installed as a skill.
Control of smart lights (Philips Hue) in the desired room is playfully easy, the robot vacuum cleaner is sent out on a sweep, and the system behaves very stably.
Since we do not have an Amazon Music account, we have not tested this, but every time we want to play music, we get the error message that the service is not connected. If, on the other hand, we ask Alexa to play a given song on Spotify, then the song will come. Mostly. Sometimes the song is not found, even though we know it is on Spotify and Alexa pronounces the name correctly. Tidal is otherwise officially supported by Alexa, but not in Norway.
The sound is perfectly fine, with clear speech. But no pronounced musician, until it becomes too flat and unengaging. Fortunately, the speaker can be connected to better sound systems with Bluetooth or cable. You can alternatively connect two Echo speakers in stereo, the money should then perhaps be spent on a fatter speaker.
Echo is a nice little speaker, with a great finish and good design. It does little of itself and blends in with the interior. Little of it unfortunately also makes it sonic. Clear speech is all well and good, but the music sounds in the flattest layer. But in fact nothing flatter than a couple of competitors with larger physical goals. Ease of use is very good, if you master English and can live with the fact that not all services and products are supported in Norway.
Also in this test
Libratone Zipp Mini 2
Looks like a thermos
Libratone goes against the flow, and the Alexa speaker Libratone Zipp Mini 2 looks like a thermos. It is portable, plays music well, and two can be connected in stereo.
Harman Kardon Citation 100
This is probably the prettiest speaker we've seen in its class. However, the Harman Kardon Citation 100 fails to take sound advantage of its larger exterior.
Marshall Stanmore II Voice Google Assistant
Concert from the bookshelf
Marshall Stanmore II plays much louder sound than the competition, without compromising the balance. It crushes them, quite simply.
Approved from Apple
Apple HomePod has very good sound and is easy to use. But smart steering seems too rigid and solid.
Hama Sirium 1400ABT
Bigger does not mean bigger sound
Hamas' smallest Alexa speaker Sirium 1400ABT is a bit larger than the Amazon Echo, but still fails to give us any greater sound.
The Google Home system has enormous potential, but as a speaker this is not the best.
A smarter Sonos
Sonos One will one day give us both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in one and the same smart speaker. But Google is waiting.
Smart speaker that can swim
Kygo B9/800 is the only smart speaker we know of that you can take with you to the swimming pool.